Asylum by Madeleine Roux

I read this book on my way to my grandma’s, late that night, and on the way home. Overall I kinda like this book and will probably pick up the sequel. While reading this book and looking back on it, I have mixed feelings. I have things I liked and things I didn’t like.

This book is about smart, talented in some way, high schoolers who have chosen to spend a crap ton of money to go to a college in New Hampshire for 5 weeks and take challenging classes and stuff on topics of interest. Thing is, the dorms they stay in used to be an old insane asylum. Hence the title, Asylum. Dan and his friends, Abby and Jordan, find pictures and notes and start getting pulled into the past of the place, a past which they are connected to.

Well, that’s what the inside flap said, but I found that only Dan and Abby were all that connected to the past. Now on to the other things I didn’t like. The first hundred pages or so were rather boring, and I’m surprised I didn’t stop reading this book all together. And the book felt rather plotless until the last hundred pages or so. And like the fabulous book ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ by Ransom Riggs, this book had photographs. Unlike the other book, the photos in ‘Asylum’ were altered and changed, and I felt, unneeded. They seemed to be placed randomly or that the author was trying to hard to scare or creep out the readers by using them. I also felt that the photos were an easy way out for describing buildings and locations. Also, the romantic relationship between Abby and Dan seemed completely unnecessary. And Dan in general just didn’t seem like a likeable character at all. He was frequently jealous over nothing and hated Felix for no real reason. And the fact that Dan, Jordan, and Abby were such close friends after barely knowing each other and told each other so many deep secrets seemed really, really unlikely. I mean I have secrets I haven’t told my close friends that I’ve been friends with for years. And Jordan seemed like a really stereotypical character. And also really unlikely person as well. Last complaint (I think, I mean this is already pretty long for a few complaints) is: what college professors would want to spend their summer teaching more classes? And plus, that would cost a fortune for the college to do! I mean, teacher pay, dorms, food, lunch staff pay, janitor pay. It just doesn’t seem realistic to me. And the ending was clearly bad foreshadowing to want you to read the next book. And it would have been a much stronger book if it was in first person point of view instead of third (although I rarely say that).

Now for the good things. Lemme wrack my brain for a minute. Trust me, there are good things! I think. Well, it managed to creep me out in the first 20 pages. That’s hard to do. It was an interesting story though, and I was on edge waiting for the next time the three teens went back into the locked, creepy part of the insane asylum. And I do want to read the next book. I am not trying to convince you not to read this book, the paragraph above is just things I noticed that irritated me or didn’t make sense. I’m positive there were other good parts, it’s just that those were the parts that stood out to me.

This book had violence, mentions of past cruel treatments for patients, some deaths, some murders, and definitely creepy at times. I’d say 12+. Not a terrible book, but not amazing.

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